Hyundai Mobis has recently developed technology that monitors the driver’s heart rate and brain waves to ensure safe driving at all times.
The problem of drunk driving and road accidents caused by other health factors such as fatigue and decreased concentration is a worldwide phenomenon. Based on the 1.25 million annual road deaths worldwide, alcohol-related deaths among fatally injured road users are approximately 273,000 each year.
With such statistics in mind, Hyundai Mobis has unveiled new technology that monitors vital signs of a driver’s health. New Smart Cabin Controller technology analyzes posture, brainwaves and heart rate to monitor driver and cognitive status.
If the technology detects serious issues or has “concerns” about the driver, it can put the vehicle into self-driving mode to maintain safety, get to the hospital and more. The company said that in the future, the technology may be able to prevent drunk driving.
We spoke to Chang Won Lee, Senior Research Engineer, Creative UX Cell, Advanced Engineering Sector at Hyundai Mobis, to learn more about this technology and the benefits it will bring to the industry.
Just Auto (JA): Could you tell me a bit about your role and what it entails?
Chang Won Lee (CWL): I lead the project to develop a human-centered technology that can be applied to the vehicle, which includes detection, signal processing, detection and classification of biological signals.
Biological signals include local and temporal information about biological activity, such as heart rate, movement, and thought. They can be acquired electrically, chemically and mechanically.
The most recent project I led is M.Brain, the world’s first biohealth technology to monitor human brain signals with electroencephalography (EEG) for safe and interactive driving.
M.Brain is a vehicle safety monitoring system that detects driver fatigue, drowsiness, inattention and health to send visual, tactile and audio alerts to reduce accidents.
In addition, I participate in the smart cabin controller technology project. My role is to use biosignals in the smart cabin controller to provide better understanding of drivers and passengers.
Could you explain how this new smart cabin controller technology works and what its purposes are?
Hyundai Mobis’ smart cabin controller includes a sensor to measure the driver’s biological signals, a controller to analyze those signals and software logic.
There are four sensors in total, namely a 3D camera that captures a three-dimensional image of the driver’s position, an EKG sensor on the steering wheel, an earphone sensor that measures brain waves emitted from the ears, and a sensor HVAC which measures temperature, humidity and carbon dioxide levels inside the cabin.
The biosignals collected by these four sensors are then sent to the controller. The controller, after analyzing the biological signals in real time, alerts the driver via the navigation, the control panel or the head-up display (HUD) if it considers that the driver presents a risk of drowsy driving or other health risks.
If the data collected by the EKG sensor suggests a high risk of stress, the controller recommends autonomous driving. If the carbon dioxide level inside the vehicle is high, the controller will automatically open the windows or change the HVAC mode to allow outside air intake.
The smart cabin controller has great growth potential because it is a kind of highly intellectual brain that analyzes biological signals even as they change in real time. For example, it can be developed to instantly prevent someone from driving while intoxicated or to automatically take the passenger to the emergency room in situations such as cardiac arrest.
What benefits will this technology bring to the automotive industry?
Most of the technology applied to vehicles so far depends on driver control (steering, switches, etc.). However, the essence of the technology we seek to develop is to be able to provide service or technical support by automatically identifying these situations, much like personalized recommendations on your smartphone.
This technology, which provides a deeper understanding of the driver based on their biosignals, can lead to more intuitive and seamless features and services, much like unlocking your smartphone using biometrics like your fingerprint is. a better alternative than entering your password manually.
The intelligent cabin controller developed by Hyundai Mobis is an example of driver-centric safety technology rather than performance.
It is surely an essential component of the mobility of the future when autonomous driving becomes the norm. When that time comes, the technologies that drive innovation will have to be those that are designed around the driver, not around improving vehicle performance.
What sets this technology apart from others on the market?
Not only are most healthcare-related technologies developed for the IT market, but most of them are also still in the research phase and have rarely been applied to real vehicle environments. Therefore, we put a lot of thought into the actual applications right from the detection and technical application stages.
How can customers engage with this technology?
The intelligent cabin controller is equipped with technologies to take care of the driver’s health. For example, if the electrocardiogram sensor determines that the driver is under high stress, the color of the lighting inside the vehicle will change to green, and the car aroma diffuser will automatically light up to calm the driver.
There are also features to help passengers combat motion sickness. LED lights on the sides of the seats help passengers know the direction and speed of the vehicle in advance. This feature is designed based on the fact that motion sickness occurs when passengers cannot predict the direction and speed of the vehicle.
Would it be better if your car could even take care of your health? Technologies that monitor driver health are essential for safe autonomous driving. If the vehicle can identify emergency hazards, such as when the driver or a passenger loses consciousness, the car could autonomously drive the person to an emergency room, let alone call the emergency room or a crew. rescue.
What do you think the future holds for this technology?
What will the interior of a car look like in the future when autonomous driving becomes the norm?
Hyundai Mobis anticipates that future mobility will take on the role of “mobile health examination center”. This is why the company continues to acquire expert human resources and pursue its research in bioengineering and robotics. The Intelligent Cabin Controller is the result of these arduous efforts.
This technology can be applied to current mobility but also to future mobility, including urban air mobility, pharmacy benefit managers, personal mobility and robots. I believe that human-centric technology, like smart cabin technology, will become essential for future mobility.